Berkeley at the centre of international deal to help develop next generation of Nuclear reactors

11 March 2024

Western Gateway’s proposal for a Low Carbon Energy Park at its Severn Edge site gets a major boost this week as new international deal is struck focusing on the Berkeley Science and Technology Park.

Following the announcement of a £10 million investment in the site by Chiltern Vital Group (CVG) working with Rolls Royce SMR and University of Bristol, the organisation has announced a new exciting partnership with Polish industrial group, Industria and Poland’s Central Hydrogen Valley.   This partnership seeks to develop low carbon energy sources to help the world reach net zero and comes with significant opportunity for new skills, jobs, export contracts and investment into the Western Gateway region.

Berkeley Science and Technology Park has been at the forefront of science and nuclear technology for over 40 years. Berkeley and nearby Oldbury were already amongst several prioritised sites across England and Wales which have the potential to host multiple small modular reactors (SMR) and are part of the UK Government SMR siting process led by Great British Nuclear.

A single SMR has been estimated to be able to power one million homes for 60 years whilst a UK wide rollout of the technology could create 40,000 new jobs.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Western Gateway Vice Chair and leader of Gloucestershire County Council said: “It is great to see this international deal focusing on Berkeley.

“This is exactly what the Western Gateway’s Severn Edge sites was designed to enable. Our vision is of a site which can help develop new skills and clean energy jobs for our communities. Severn Edge is ready to be seen as a world leader in new SMR technology and we look forward to working with the UK Government, Rolls Royce SMR and Chiltern Vital Group to deliver a new generation of low carbon energy.”

This news comes on top of the Chancellor’s announcement in the budget that Great British Nuclear, a Government body created to drive forward new nuclear generating capacity in the UK, will be buying land in Oldbury, South Gloucestershire, and North Wales for £160 million.

Alan Woods, Rolls-Royce SMR’s Director of Strategy and Business Development, said: “This is an extremely positive step forward for Rolls-Royce SMR and we are delighted to see two of our close partners agree to collaborate on their efforts to bring our technology to fruition.

“This is an exciting development. Both CVG and Industria are highly capable and credible organisations, able to deliver low-carbon energy projects powered by Rolls-Royce SMRs. This announcement further opens the opportunity for CVG to support and enable Great British Nuclear to deliver cutting-edge technology by the early to mid-2030s.”

Szczepan Ruman, President of the Management Board of INDUSTRIA., said: “Chiltern Vital Group is a very important partner for us because of the Group’s UK and international experience in creating and delivering large scale industrial technology clusters which will support the development of Central Hydrogen Valley and the deployment of Rolls-Royce SMRs within the valley”.

Chris Turner, Chief Executive of CVG, said: “it is a great honour for CVG to be signing this strategically important collaboration agreement with Industria S.A. today in Poland. SMR technology can only be deployed on the scale required through long term public/private and international partnerships. We are very fortunate in having leading public/private sector partners in our major UK projects, which include the Western Gateway and Rolls Royce SMR on the proposed Berkeley/Oldbury ‘Severn Edge’ investment zone project; and in being a significant partner in the Yorkshire Energy Park Freeport.”

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